The shipyard painter, political activist and razor-sharp cartoonist Bob Starrett has just written a new book The Way I See It on his eventful life and times. Below we reprint one of his stories and review an essential read
Thinking Seven Samurai or The Magnificent Seven? Think again.
Writer-director Martin McDonagh's Seven Psychopaths is a cracking black comedy that subverts such iconic mercenary movies with a delicious irreverence.
The prologue sets the scene with Tarantino-like brevity, as two assassins wait for their victim while discussing the morality of shooting somebody through the eyes.
We're introduced to Marty (Colin Farrell), an alcoholic Irish writer who needs some ideas for a script he's called Seven Psychopaths.
Enter Billy (Sam Rockwell), who's prepared to do anything to get an acting job, so puts an advert in the paper inviting psychos to relate their stories.
We're then slowly introduced to a plethora of psychos represented by the like of Tom Waits in creepy mode and the haunting image of Harry Dean Stanton.
Meanwhile Billy's in the dog-napping business with the peace-loving Hans (Christopher Walken, wicked) who needs the money to pay for his wife's operation.
Unknowingly, they invoke the wrath of Mafia boss Charlie Costello (Woody Harrelson) after stealing his shih tau dog. The inference is that people are more upset at cruelty to animals than the endless scenes of malicious misogyny.
The realisation dawns that this is a multi-layered film within a film that becomes increasingly chaotic as the characters attempt to confound the idea of the final showdown.
Along with great performances referencing film villains, the Gunfight at the OK Corral and Duel In The Sun are also invoked.
Nothing is predictable, as every atrocity only serves to prove Marty's need to include a scene that will provide some sort of redemption.
With its acerbic wit and misanthropic theme the film's bound to upset those with a sensitive disposition or who've had a humour by-pass operation.
That's misguided because Seven Psychopaths gives short shrift to those who've been spoon-fed their morality.Like it or not, this is a modern morality tale of a deeply sick society.